SEATTLE (AP) — Before taking the court on Saturday, Oakland coach Greg Kampe received a text message from a friend that the next four days would determine if the Golden Grizzlies were a pretty good mid-major team or potentially something special.
With star guard Kay Felder a special season might be possible for the Golden Grizzlies.
Felder scored a career-high 38 points, taking over the game late in the first half, Martez Walker added 18 in his season debut, and Oakland raced past Washington 97-83 on Saturday.
It was Oakland’s first road victory over a power conference opponent since winning at Tennessee in December 2010 and was the first in a two-game stretch that will go a long way in determining the national impression about the Golden Grizzlies.
First came beating Washington. Next up on the docket: No. 1 Michigan State on Tuesday night.
“It had been a few years and we needed another one of these, especially to get it this way” Kampe said.
Felder came in as the fifth leading scorer in the nation and put on a show in the first half that left Washington coach Lorenzo Romar impressed. Felder had 25 at halftime, including the final 14 points for the Golden Grizzlies who built a 55-35 lead at the break and never let the Huskies get closer than 10 in the second half.
“I know we have some good guards in our league, but I just don’t know if we’ll play against anybody else like that,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said.
No matter whom Washington used to try and guard Felder in the first half it didn’t work, especially late in the half. Felder scored 16 of the final 18 points. He did it a variety of ways — deep 3-pointers, breaking down defenders off the dribble and occasionally scoring in the lane.
Felder made 14 of 27 shots, added nine assists and six rebounds. Jalen Hayes had 16 points and 17 rebounds.
“The basket feels like an ocean or something. It’s so big and wide and everything you’re throwing up is going in. It just feels great,” Felder said.
Matisse Thybulle and Dejounte Murray led the Huskies with 16 points, but Washington saw its four-game win streak snapped. Washington attempted a season-high 37 3-pointers — making 11 — and was outrebounded 55-39, helping lead to 24 second-chance points for Oakland.
Oakland was bolstered by the season debut of Walker, a transfer from Texas who was eligible for the first time this season. Walker made 7 of 11 shots and was the perfect complement for Felder. Walker was also responsible for stopping Washington’s run early in the second half that trimmed the Golden Grizzlies lead to 10.
Marquese Chriss scored six straight for the Huskies and Noah Dickerson’s fastbreak dunk with 13:43 left pulled Washington within 65-55. Felder returned after a timeout and Oakland responded. Walker scored eight straight points set up largely by Felder and the lead was back to 18.
Washington never got closer than 10 again.
“You can talk about what Felder did and he put us in the position. The end of the first half we were tired and in foul trouble so I just spread the floor and let him play one-on-one and he was unbelievable. But we see that every day. We know how good he is,” Kampe said. “But in the second half they made their run and Kay was tired and Martez took over and got us those points.”
Oakland: Reserve guard Max Hooper has now attempted 88 shots on the season, all of them 3-point attempts. Hooper was 1 of 8 on Saturday.
Washington: The Huskies lost at home for the second straight year to a non-power conference team. Washington’s 11-0 start last season was snapped by a 62-57 loss to Stony Brook. … Thybulle scored in double figures for just the second time this season.
Felder has scored 20 or more in every game this season and Saturday was his second straight game topping 30. He had 34 against Toledo. Felder scored with 18 seconds left, setting a new career-high but said he didn’t realize that basket put him over the top.
Oakland: The Golden Grizzlies face No. 1 Michigan State at the Palace at Auburn Hills on Tuesday.
Washington: The Huskies host Seattle in the annual crosstown rivalry game on Tuesday.
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